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Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes = The Perfect Summer Birthday Treat!

15 Jul

When my BFF told me she wanted strawberry lemonade cupcakes for her 30th birthday cake – I was kind of surprised. I mean, I knew they existed, but it’s certainly not a “typical” birthday cake flavor – chocolate, vanilla, even red velvet – those tend to be the norm. But hey, it’s her birthday, and if she wants to try something new, I’m game!

So, I browsed the internet for a recipe (what did we do before Pinterest and Google? Seriously!), and got down to business!

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes (Recipe Courtesy of Eating On A Dime)

Ingredients
1 box White Cake Mix
1 box Strawberry Jell-O
2 tbsp Sweetened Lemonade mix
16 oz thawed package Frozen Strawberries in Sugar (or your could use FRESH strawberries when they are in season)
3 Eggs
⅓ cup Vegetable Oil
½ cup Butter
3 cup Powdered Sugar
⅓ cup Sweetened Lemonade mix
2 tbsp Water
Chewy Lemonheads candy (optional)

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Got all my ingredients – and I’m ready to bake!

 

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Stir together Cake mix, dry Jello and 2 tbsp lemonade mix
3. Puree strawberries
4. Add strawberries, eggs and vegetable oil to dry ingredients
5. Mix until smooth and blended
6. Place liners in cupcake pan and fill ⅔ full
7. Bake about 20 minutes
8. Allow to cool completely

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I don’t know about you – but I LOVE strawberries – and am stoked there are REAL strawberries in this cake recipe (instead of just like boxed strawberry cake mix or something)

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So pretty and pink!

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I can’t even describe to you how amazing this smelled while baking – the cake-y strawberry-y scent was great – and tempting – made me want to shove like 4 in my mouth immediately after they were done – but restraint was practiced – thankfully – since they would have burned my mouth anyway ha!

For Icing
1. Cream butter in a medium bowl
2. Slowly add in the powdered sugar and ⅓ cup lemonade mix. Add water as needed, until everything is incorporated and frosting is right consistency
3. Transfer icing to piping bag or zippered bag and clip corner to pipe
4. Ice tops of each cupcake
5. Optional: dust with sparkling sugar and lemonhead (or a fresh lemon or candy lemon).

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Just a few notes:
I doubled the frosting recipe as I was running out after I had frosted only half of them – and maybe I was a little extra generous with the frosting – but I am a HUGE frosting fan, and let’s be real – they are just prettier with more frosting! I also skipped the crushed candies and lemon garnish – they were way cute with just the straw!

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The Birthday girl really liked them – and I have to say, I really did too! The cake itself was moist, and had a great strawberry flavor, and the frosting – while a bit gritty from the lemonade mix, was still really good, was sweet but a bit sour too from the lemonade

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Everyone really liked them – including my men

(…of course, they like most baked goods, but still – I am glad they were well received!)

These would be perfect to bring along to a summer picnic – wouldn’t they look cute on the buffet line? I was surprised at how much I enjoyed them – so much so that I might just make them again for fun!

My Little Helper (AKA The World’s Most Adorable Sous Chef)

24 May

My love of baking is something I really hope I can pass on to my son – I know he likes eating my baked goods already, but I want him to appreciate the time and effort that goes into them, too! I have been letting him “help” me in the kitchen for a while now, with extremely adorable results:

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He actually did pretty well standing on a regular dining room chair, but when I saw a picture of a “toddler helper” stool on pinterest, I knew it would make a great project for my dad (who is always looking for something to do to keep himself out of trouble!). It turned out great, and was super easy/cheap for him to put together. Check out how you can make your own here

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My mother in law made us matching Mickey and Minnie aprons – aren’t they amazing? Perfect for me and my little sous chef!

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He REALLY enjoyed helping me make sugar cookies, and enjoyed the frosting we made for them even more!

I really hope that giving him the chance to help in the kitchen (and yes, make messes, too!) will keep him coming back for more, and keep him interested in helping and learning, too!

Cookie Decorating 101

27 Jan

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Here’s my little guy’s first attempt at cookie decorating… Obviously he has a real future in pastry arts, wouldn’t you agree?

(my personal favorite is the bottom right one – where my husband attempted to take away his frosting. It did NOT go well…)

Beer Cinnamon Roll Biscuits

19 Jan

My Husband’s birthday was on Friday – and after almost nine years together, I find that it really isn’t about the money you spend on a gift, but rather the thought and work that went into it. Plus – since we just had a baby, saving money is a big thing for us right now. Which is what got me to thinking about what I could make for my husband for his birthday (versus buy), and I thought about things he likes – and the two things that top the list are BEER and FOOD. So, why not combine them both and make him something he can eat – with BEER in it!? This isn’t the first time I have done this, but it IS the first time I have tried making a beer inspired breakfast item – and the two items went together better than I thought they would!

Twenty Minute Cinnamon Roll Beer Biscuits (Recipe Courtesy of The Beeroness
Prep Time: 8 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
20 minutes
Yield: 10-12
Ingredients
For the Cinnamon Rolls:
3 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
10 tbs unsalted cold butter, cut into cubes
¾ cup pale ale or wheat beer
1/3 cup buttermilk
6 tbs softened butter
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup white sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
pinch salt
For the Icing:
2 cups powdered sugar
¼ cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions
• Preheat oven to 400.
• In a processor add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar.
• Pulse to combine. Add the cold butter, process until well combined. Add to a large bowl.
• Add the buttermilk and beer. Mix with a fork until just combined.
• Add to a well-floured flat surface, pat into a rectangle. Using a cold rolling pin (preferably marble) gently roll into a large rectangle, about 3/4 inch in thickness, using as few strokes as possible.
• In a medium sized bowl add the softened butter, brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and pinch of salt. Stir until a paste forms.
• Spread the dough with the butter mixture. Starting at the long end, roll into a tight log. Cut 2-inch rounds, place in a baking dish.
• Bake at 400 for 12 to 15 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.
• Allow to cool.
• Stir together the powdered sugar, buttermilk and vanilla until well combined. Serve the biscuits topped with icing.

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I followed the recipe exactly as written – and I found that the only difference was that they took a bit longer to bake – about 20 minutes total

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These were easy to throw together and were a huge hit with the birthday boy!

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In keeping with the beer and food theme, I also made White Bean Chicken Beer Chili and Beer cheese biscuits for his birthday dinner – they both turned out really great as well! If you have a beer lover in your house then I suggest you check out the Beeroness’ Blog – it’s full of great and easy recipes (plus the pictures are seriously drool-worthy!)

This Rainbow Cake Will WOW Your Party Guests (PS – It’s EASY To Make Too!)

5 Aug

 

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The evolution of the rainbow swirl cake

You can’t have a birthday without some kind of cake – am I right? I mean, “cake” is loosely defined sometimes, as I have had birthday cookies, birthday cookie cake, birthday pie, birthday ice cream…ok so what I am saying is that the best way to celebrate turning another year older is with sugar. Lots and lots of it. And cake is the traditional choice – and with so many ways to make it, there’s no reason why you have to stick to the same old thing year after year

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My best friend turned 28 this year – and it’s hard to believe we have been friends for over 13 years! I always like to make her a cake for her birthday, and this year she requested a “rainbow cake”. Now, there are several ways to go about this, including making a huge layer cake with 6 different colored layers. While that would have been impressive, I knew I probably didn’t have it in me – precision is so NOT my thing. So I opted for the “rainbow swirl” cake – seemed simple enough

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I started with your basic boxed white cake mix, and divided it up evenly into 6 bowls, adding food coloring to each to make purple, blue, green, yellow, orange and red. It took some time to get the colors right – and some arm power to mix them all up too!

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Then it was time prepare the two cake layers – which I did by taking a ¼ cup measuring cup and scooping one of each color into each cake pan. Once I had all the colors in there, I carefully swirled them together with a butter knife – being careful not to overswirl. The ready to bake and baked versions looked pretty good to me, but I couldn’t wait until birthday time to cut into them and see how the rainbow turned out!

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Here’s the birthday girl with her decorated cake – I used my favorite Crisco frosting recipe and had a little decorating help from my husband – didn’t he do a great job?

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It turned out pretty awesome – and it really wasn’t much more work than just baking a regular cake from a cake mix. You could use colored cakes in a lot of ways – check out these other “surprise” cake ideas, and bake up something colorful and fun for your next birthday celebration!

Products I Love: CRISCO

19 Jun

Crisco

Ok – so maybe it seems strange to devote a whole post to something like Crisco – but how can I not praise this versatile fat? It pretty much does it all – you can fry chicken with it, grease the heck out of a pan, and do some other pretty weird but helpful stuff with it too!

But I have to say, my personal favorite way to use Crisco is in FROSTING – this recipe is my Mother In Law’s, and when I first heard what was in it I was like WHAT EW! There’s CRISCO in this?! But it seriously is amazing – and delicious to boot!

 

Crisco Frosting

Ingredients
-1 Cup Crisco
-1 lb box Confectioners Sugar
-1 tablespoon clear butter flavoring
-1 tablespoon clear vanilla
-1-2 tablespoons milk

Directions
-Blend Crisco until smooth and creamy with a hand mixer
-Add sugar in batches – 1 cup at a time, and mix until smooth in between each addition
-Add vanilla and butter flavoring, and mix well
-Add a little milk as needed and mix well until it’s at the desired consistency

So the point of using the clear extracts is that it makes the frosting nice and bright white – it’s so pretty when piped onto cupcakes, and it tastes even better licked right out of the bowl!

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My Brother and Sister in law enjoying some of my cupcakes made with their mom’s frosting (she is excited – despite her expression!)

 

….of course Crisco isn’t exactly the best choice if you’re trying to be healthy, in which case you will want to check out my healthy chocolate chip cookies, or my healthy substitutions. I usually try and be healthy when preparing meals and snacks, but sometimes there is just nothing like a pile of Crisco frosting on a cupcake. Yum! What about you – have you used a lot of Crisco in the kitchen? What’s your favorite use for it?

Quick Cinnamon Rolls Skip The Rising Thanks To Bisquick

16 Mar

Ah, Bisquick – is there anything it can’t do? I mean seriously – pancakes, pot pies, waffles, biscuits, dumplings, and now – cinnamon rolls? I have done cinnamon rolls from scratch before, and they are amazing, but time consuming. Well, with these bisquick cinnamon rolls, you get to skip the dough rising step (which means a faster oven to mouth time – which is definitely important!)

Bisquick Cinnamon Rolls (Recipe Courtesy of Chocolate, Chocolate and More

Ingredients

4 cups Bisquick mix
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
4 tablespoons sugar

1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans)
2 Tablespoons butter melted

3/4 cup butter, melted and cooled

1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 Tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions
1. In a large bowl, Combine Bisquick, buttermilk and sugar in a bowl using a fork. Mix just until all combined to create a dough.
2. In a medium bowl, Combine brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon and nuts in separate bowl. Add 2 tablespoons melted butter and stir to moisten. Set aside.

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Dough and The Filling – Ready For Action

3. Generously flour rolling surface.I know it seems like a lot but trust me, this is a sticky dough. Turn dough out onto surface and start patting into a rectangular shape with your hand. Flour your hand well also.
4. Use a rolling pin to thin dough to about 1/2 inch thickness. Do not over-roll, the dough will stick

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Dough-tastic

5. Once rolled out, pour 3/4 cup melted butter over entire surface then spread with pastry brush to even out and get to the edges.
6. Sprinkle sugar/nut mixture over butter.
7. Start rolling dough from long end.
8. Slice into 16 pieces

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SO MUCH Buttery goodness!

9. Transfer slices to a well greased (sprayed) 9 x 13 pan. I used a spatula to make it easier

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Ready To Bake

10. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 25-30 minutes, util just golden brown on tops.
11. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
12. Combine powdered sugar, milk and vanilla until desired consistency and drizzle over topped of rolls.

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Frosting- check. Time to Eat

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YUM

These really were seriously easy – and fast! I think cinnamon rolls from scratch can be intimidating for a lot of people – they require rolling, and rising, and waiting, and precision – and I know for me sometimes those things don’t come so easily. But these were really the perfect recipe for anyone to make, not to mention that I pretty much had everything on hand already (minus the buttermilk)

They were nice and soft, and I personally love me a soft doughy cinnamon roll! The pecans got nice and roasted which give an awesome crunchy texture to an otherwise pillowy sweet roll. The rolls were perfect warm, but were delicious cold too!

I will definitely be making these again – possibly tomorrow. Seriously – they are that good!